Pak warns India against Abbottabad-like ‘misadventure’

Pakistan also issued a threat to Washington that it would review cooperation if any more raids are carried out.

Last Updated: May 06, 2011, 00:41 AM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan army and the
government on Thursday reacted sharply warning India against any
Abbottabad-like "misadventure", saying it would be responded
to "very strongly" that could lead to a "terrible
catastrophe".

The warning came after a meeting of the Corps
Commanders chaired by Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani which decided
to reduce the level of US military personnel in Pakistan and
threatened to review intelligence cooperation with it, if a
repeat of "violation of sovereignty" like on Monday occurred.

Reacting to statements by Army Chief Gen V K Singh and
Air Chief Air Marshal P V Naik that India has the capacity to
carry out an operation similar to US forces eliminating Osama
bin Laden, first Pakistan Foreign Secretary told a press
conference that any country that attempts to "mimic" the
unilateral act of the US will find it has made a "basic
miscalculation".

"We see a lot of bravado in our own region. There have
been statements that have come from across (the border), by
senior people from the military and air force, which state
that this can be repeated.

"We feel that sort of misadventure or miscalculation
would result in a terrible catastrophe," he said in his
opening remarks.

Later, the military issued a statement after the Corps
Commanders meeting, saying, "The forum, taking serious note of
the assertions made by Indian military leadership about
conducting similar operations, made it very clear that any
misadventure of this kind will be responded to very strongly.

There should be no doubt about it."

The meeting held at the General Headquarters in
Rawalpindi issued the warning after reviewing the operation in
which bin Laden was killed on Monday.

Referring to the US raid, Kayani "made it very clear
that any similar action, violating the sovereignty of
Pakistan, will warrant a review on the level of military (and)
intelligence cooperation with the United States."

The Corps Commanders were also informed about a
decision "to reduce the strength of US military personnel in
Pakistan to the minimum essential." The statement did not say
how many US military personnel would be asked to leave
Pakistan.

In the face of continuing media reports that the US
has plans to secure Pakistan`s nuclear assets in the event of
a takeover by extremists, the army`s top commanders made it
clear that targeting the atomic arsenal would not be as simple
as hitting bin Laden`s compound.

"As regards the possibility of similar hostile action
against our strategic assets, the forum reaffirmed that,
unlike an undefended civilian compound, our strategic assets
are well protected and an elaborate defensive mechanism is in
place," the statement said.

The statement said the US raid in Abbottabad was the
"one point agenda" of the meeting. "The forum discussed the
incident and its implications on military-to-military
relations with the United States," it said.

The military admitted its "own shortcomings in
developing intelligence on the presence of Osama bin Laden in
Pakistan" and said "an investigation has been ordered into the
circumstances that led to this situation".

At the same time, the military "highlighted that the
achievements of Inter-Services Intelligence against al Qaeda
and its terrorist affiliates in Pakistan have no parallel".

The statement said around 100 top-level al Qaeda
leaders and operators were killed or arrested by the ISI with
or without the support of the CIA.

"However, in the case of Osama bin Laden, while the
CIA developed intelligence based on initial information
provided by ISI, it did not share further development of
intelligence on the case with ISI, contrary to the existing
practice between the two services," the statement alleged.
The commanders also reiterated their "resolve to
defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan"
and to fight terrorism with the support of the people.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Bashir accused Indian
establishment and its armed forces of trying to subvert
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s agenda by making statements
which were a "matter of concern".

"I only see them as symptomatic of trends and
tendencies within the Indian establishment and their armed
forces to subvert the agenda of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
I don`t think the Indian leadership would really subscribe to
this".

Responding to a query on the remarks of Indian
military officials about mounting a raid against leaders of
Pak-based terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Bashir said
such comments are "a matter of concern".

Bashir highlighted the need for a "serious
constructive approach" and said Pakistan was engaged in a
process of dialogue with India.

"We have had good meetings recently between the Home
and Interior Secretaries of the two countries on
counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics. We have done
everything that we can and we are continuing to do in terms of
cooperating to avert the possibilities of terror between our
two countries", he said.

Bashir even questioned whether the 2008 Mumbai terror
attacks could be described as "an intelligence failure or
security failure on the part of India."

He also sought to equate the incident to the questions
of "incompetence or complicity" being raised about Pakistani
security forces in the context of the US raid that killed bin
Laden. Bashir mounted a strong defence of the ISI in the wake
of questions raised by US officials about its failure to
detect bin Laden even though he was living in a compound
located less than a kilometre from the Pakistan Military
Academy.

He also sought to dispel the impression that the US
raid had taken bilateral relations to a fresh low.

While acknowledging that the unilateral and covert US
operation had been successful in eliminating bin Laden, Bashir
said it was "fortunate that a major tragedy that could have
happened was averted" as the Pakistan Air Force had scrambled
two F-16 jets after learning that some helicopters were
present over Abbottabad.

Referring to comments by US officials like CIA chief
Leon Panetta about the possible complicity of Pakistani
security forces or intelligence agencies in sheltering bin
Laden, he said such remarks had "continued to surface
periodically" to pressure Pakistan to "do more" in the war on
terror.

"It`s easy to say the ISI or elements within the
government were in cahoots with al Qaeda. This is a false
hypothesis and a false charge. It cannot be validated on any
account and it flies in the face of what Pakistan and the ISI
has been able to accomplish," he contended.

Bashir claimed the ISI had been more successful than
even the CIA in capturing or killing al Qaeda and Taliban
elements.

The ISI had shared information on the compound where
bin Laden was found since 2009 and had also focused on
Abbottabad since 2004, he said.

PTI